While local residents and thousands of out-of-town visitors head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for tomorrow’s Brickyard 400, managers at Nordstrom’s Circle Center Mall store in downtown Indianapolis will be quietly prepare to close the doors for the last time.
Nordstrom’s announced in May that the downtown store would close on July 31, the victim of a soft downtown retail market. Company officials continue to reiterate that their northside store is strong and will remain open. Nordstrom’s follows another big name retailer, Borders, which departed from downtown earlier this year, well in advance of last week’s liquidation of the chain’s remaining locations.
Yesterday, Inside Indianapolis Business reported that the buzz in the local real estate industry is that the location may remain empty for some time, even past next February’s Super Bowl. The city disputes this, claiming that the site is getting “a lot of interest” from potential tenants.
City leaders want another tenant of the same caliber as Nordstrom. That’s unlikely. Large department stores are suffering along with the rest of the economy, and if Nordstrom couldn’t make a go of it downtown, it’s unlikely that anyone else would want to take a chance on the location.
Indianapolis continues to be plagued with empty properties, in spite of massive efforts by government and industry to stem the tide. City leaders are far too image conscious to leave a hole in the heart of downtown while the nation’s eyes are on Indiana’s capital city. Look for the city to cut an aggressive, short term, sweetheart deal with a national discounter to fill this space prior to the Super Bowl. What happens to it after the big game is anybody’s guess.